Author: Gail Carriger
Genre: steampunk, supernatural fiction
Series: Finishing School #2
Published: January 1, 2013
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Does one need four fully grown foxgloves for decorating a dinner table for six guests? Or is it six foxgloves to kill four fully grown guests?
Sophronia's first year at Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality has certainly been rousing! For one thing, finishing school is training her to be a spy--won't Mumsy be surprised? Furthermore, Sophronia got mixed up in an intrigue over a stolen device and had a cheese pie thrown at her in a most horrid display of poor manners.
Now, as she sneaks around the dirigible school, eavesdropping on the teachers' quarters and making clandestine climbs to the ship's boiler room, she learns that there may be more to a field trip to London than is apparent at first. A conspiracy is afoot--one with dire implications for both supernaturals and humans. Sophronia must rely on her training to discover who is behind the dangerous plot-and survive the London Season with a full dance card.
In this sequel to New York Times bestselling Etiquette & Espionage, class is back in session with more petticoats and poison, tea trays and treason. Gail's distinctive voice, signature humor, and lush steampunk setting are sure to be the height of fashion this season.
Once again, Sophronia is aboard the floating finishing school, learning the not-all-together-different arts of society and espionage. Monique, the Picklemen, and the vampires all continue to cause trouble, but now with a new, greater threat: boys.
Mademoiselle Geraldine’s will be escorting a few Bunson students to London for the unveiling of a new technological marvel that has all the players in a twitter. And with no one telling her anything and a Duke's son paying special attention to her, Sophronia's launched into another complex plot involving two boys, violent sofas, explosive spiders, and career sabotage. Luckily she can always count on her friends...oh, wait.
The actual spy work is much tighter this time around. I love the test with the oddgob machine. It starts off very strange and disjointed, but once the grading starts and you can see Sophronia's thought process, it's brilliant. There's also a lot of investigation, eavesdropping, rumor planting, but I liked seeing the things the girls don't know, like codes and fighting. Gives the book a direction for the future.
I also like that the Picklemen are finally explained and their, and all the villainous parties, motives are much clearer. It's still not all wrapped up, the prototype is obviously going to be important through the whole series, but I was much happier with where we leave off.
But the book truly earns it's extra half star over book one for an amazing, delightful Lord Akeldama cameo that has me bubbling for Waistcoats and Weaponry, and the best description of a penis in the history of literature. I think Ms. Carriger's fans won't be disappointed.